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Died May 29

Published: 5/29/2015
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Jeff Buckley (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Jeff Buckley's soaring voice brought beauty to the alternative music scene in the 1990s – but his greatest fame came only after his untimely death. Buckley's 1994 album, Grace, was critically acclaimed and won him fans including Bob Dylan and Lou Reed, but the general public didn't really know it existed. Over the years, however, Buckley's version of the Leonard Cohen song "Hallelujah" made its way into the nation's subconscious, used in movie soundtracks and commercials, until it finally exploded to the top of the iTunes chart in 2008 after being played on American Idol. Buckley was unfortunately unable to enjoy his great fame, having died in an accidental drowning in 1997, just 30 years old. We remember Buckley's life today as well as the lives of other notable people who died this day in history.

Click to discover notable people who were born this day in history.

2013: Mulgrew Miller, U.S. jazz pianist who played with Duke EllingtonBetty Carter and Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, dies of a stroke at 57.

2013: Andrew Greeley, U.S. Roman Catholic priest and author who wrote a weekly column for the Chicago Sun-Times, contributed to The New York Times and wrote The Cardinal Sins, dies at 85.

Rev. Andrew Greeley (AP Photo/stf)Greeley published his final book, Chicago Catholics and the Struggles Within Their Church, in 2010. It was a topic he had explored for years, sometimes giving him a reputation for generating controversy in the church. "Sometimes I think that we as priests and bishops have done everything we possibly could to drive away the laity during the last 20 years," Greeley wrote in his book Catholic Contributions: Sociology and Policy, published in 1987. Read more



2012: Doc Watson, U.S. guitarist and singer-songwriter of bluegrass, folk, country, blues and gospel music who was blind and known for his flat-picking skills, dies at 89.

Doc Watson (Associated Press Photo)Arthel "Doc" Watson's mastery of flat picking helped make the case for the guitar as a lead instrument in the 1950s and '60s, when it was often considered a backup for the mandolin, fiddle or banjo. His fast playing could intimidate other musicians, even his own grandson, who performed with him. Read more




2012: Dick Beals, U.S. voice actor known best as the voice of "Speedy Alka-Seltzer" in TV commercials for more than 50 years, dies at 85.

2010: Dennis Hopper, U.S. actor who was in many films during his long career including Rebel Without a Cause, Easy Rider and Hoosiers, dies at 74.

Easy Rider won Hopper the Best First Work Award in 1969 at the Cannes Film Festival. And the groundbreaking movie earned Hopper and his co-stars, Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson, a place in the hearts of hippies everywhere. Read more




2008: Harvey Korman, U.S. actor known best for his performances on The Carol Burnett Show and in movies by Mel Brooks including Blazing Saddles, dies at 81.

Korman was known for his great comedic acting. But that wasn't the main reason fans of The Carol Burnett Show loved him. What really set him apart was his tendency to break character and laugh in the middle of a scene. Co-star Tim Conway was especially good at prodding Korman to crack up. Read more




1998: Barry Goldwater, U.S. politician and five-term U.S. senator from Arizona who was the Republican candidate for president in 1964, dies at 89.

1997: Jeff Buckley, U.S. guitarist and singer-songwriter who was critically acclaimed and released his only studio album, Grace, in 1994, dies in an accidental drowning at 30.

Buckley was a songwriter, and a talented one … but his most famous and enduring recording is one that came from another pen. "Hallelujah" was written by Leonard Cohen and released in 1984 on his album Various Positions. Ten years later, Jeff Buckley recorded his version. Read more




1996: Tamara Toumanova, Russian prima ballerina and actress who performed a dance scene with Gene Kelly in the movie Invitation to the Dance, dies at 77.

1993: Billy Conn, U.S. boxer who was the light heavyweight champion of the world and who was famous for his heavyweight bouts against Joe Louis, dies at 75.

1989: John Cipollina, U.S. guitarist known best as a founder and the lead guitarist of the band Quicksilver Messenger Service, dies at 45.

1982: Romy Schneider, Austrian actress who was very popular in Europe and starred in the movie What's New Pussycat? with Peter Sellers and Peter O'Toole, dies at 43.

1979: Mary PickfordCanadian-American actress who was a film superstar during the silent era and was one of the founders of United Artists, dies at 87.

1972: Moe Berg, U.S. Major League Baseball catcher who played in the majors for 16 years and then became a spy for the Office of Strategic Services during World War II and then the CIA, dies at 70.

1951: Fanny Brice, U.S. singer, comedian and actress known for starring in the Ziegfeld Follies and who was played by Barbra Streisand in the play and movie about her life, Funny Girl, dies at 59.

1942: John Barrymore, U.S. actor who starred in such movies as Grand Hotel and Dinner at Eight and was the grandfather of actress Drew Barrymore, dies at 60.

Click to discover notable people who were born this day in history.

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